Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup returned to the winner's circle with victory in the second V8 Supercar race at Symmons Plains.
Starting from pole, Whincup led most of the race after running the "sprint" tire at the start. But it was not plain sailing, as he exited his final pit stop with four cars just behind him, and also had to cope with three safety car periods in the final quarter of the race.
Holden Racing Team's Will Davison finished second, less than two-tenths of a second ahead of Wilson Security's Fabian Coulthard, whose decision to run the softer 'sprint' tyres at the end of the race paid off. In fact, he may have got Davison and maybe even Whincup had the lapped Paul Dumbrell not held him up for two laps in the final four laps, Dumbrell's car being a sister car to that of Davison's.
Fourth for Mark Winterbottom was a great result after yesterday's result, but it could and probably should have been a win. Soon after half distance he made contact with Tim Slade at the hairpin, and a few laps later he did the same with Greg Murphy, this time losing 10 seconds and four places. Had he not done so, he would have been clear of Whincup after the final stops.
Lee Holdsworth and Russell Ingall were next in the order, Ingall recovering from 12th, on the grid, while Jason Bright did an even better job, moving up from 18th to seventh.
Jason Bargwanna was eighth, while Michael Patrizi moved from 23rd to ninth and Craig Lowndes from 16th to 10th completing the top 10.
Garth Tander recovered well in the end from an early flat tire to finish in 12th place, having spent most of the first half of the race in the bottom three positions.
James Courtney's bad weekend got worse, as Dale Wood sent Courtney's car off the track hard into the wall as Courtney lapped him, forcing the latter to retire with a heavily damaged car. This eventually led to Rick Kelly's fall down the order, as he first spun off on debris from the incident, then pitted to replace tires damaged in the spin.
What would have been third for Kelly was now 16th, and while battling with Michael Patrizi for position, the two made contact exiting the hairpin, breaking the steering on Kelly's car. He eventually got back into the race but finished 27th, five laps down. His teammate and brother Todd also looked set for a top-five result before he retired at half-distance.
With the win, Whincup leads Will Davison by 96 points, with Steven Johnson a further 195 points behind Davison, Garth Tander and Lee Holdsworth next 30 points behind Johnson.RESULTS:
Pos Driver Make Laps
1. Jamie Whincup Ford Falcon FG 84
2. Will Davison Holden Commodore VE 84
3. Fabian Coulthard Ford Falcon FG 84
4. Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG 84
5. Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VE 84
6. Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VE 84
7. Jason Bright Ford Falcon BF 84
8. Jason Bargwanna Holden Commodore VE 84
9. Michael Patrizi Ford Falcon BF 84
10. Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon FG 84
11. Alex Davison Ford Falcon FG 84
12. Garth Tander Holden Commodore VE 84
13. Cameron McConville Holden Commodore VE 84
14. Tim Slade Holden Commodore VE 84
15. Steven Richards Ford Falcon FG 84
16. Michael Caruso Holden Commodore VE 84
17. Paul Dumbrell Holden Commodore VE 83
18. Steven Johnson Ford Falcon FG 83
19. Tony D'Alberto Holden Commodore VE 83
20. Shane Van Gisbergen Ford Falcon FG 83
21. Jack Perkins Holden Commodore VE 83
22. Greg Murphy Holden Commodore VE 82
23. Jason Richards Holden Commodore VE 82
24. Marcus Marshall Ford Falcon BF 83
25. Dean Fiore Holden Commodore VE 81
26. David Reynolds Holden Commodore VE 81
27. Rick Kelly Holden Commodore VE 79
Driver Make Laps
James Courtney Ford Falcon FG 59
Dale Wood Holden Commodore VE 58
Todd Kelly Holden Commodore VE 43